well, my journey here has been odd to say the least. Either I’ve had incredibly good luck or really bad luck. No happy medium! If fate was trying to send me a message – fate was being a little schizophrenic in the process.
I crept out of the house in the early hours so I wouldn’t disturb the kids. The night prior had been incredibly emotional and fraught with regret on my part, if it wasn’t for my husband’s continued coldness I would have changed my mind. But time apart was/is clearly needed and I need to go on to find myself and do some good.
Even as we awkwardly said goodbye at the car, it felt like a handshake would have been more natural.
At the airport I easily checked in to the domestic flight from WEL to AKL. As I sat in the plane I thought I better check my onward international flight for any delays. Then I saw my fatal error. I’d booked the ticket thinking it was 11.50 but it was a 12 hour clock and my next plane wasn’t due to leave until 23.50!! Arriving in Auckland with a whole day to do nothing I called my husband. The reality is that I’ve gotten so used to him making all our travel arrangements, I just follow blindly along. Forgetting the days when I was backpacking the globe alone, a strong independent woman. Now I’m silly housewife who can’t even sort out a journey.
Suffice to say, he didn’t care much about the situation and just told me to read a good book and the newspaper.
I headed over to Singapore Airlines with all my luggage because of course it was far too early to drop that off. I explained my situation and the woman (Lynette) was AWESOME! She got me an earlier flight so I could be on my way. There would be a longer transit in Singapore but at least there’s more to do, and I’d be travelling rather than sitting in Auckland.
Relieved I checked in, cleared customs and had minimal time before the flight boarded – which was perfect. I needed to focus, stopping time I knew would get me thinking and get me emotional.
I dozed off on the plane but woke with a painfully sore flight. As we landed I could feel beads of sweat, pains in my joints and overwhelming exhaustion. I knew I was getting the flu.
I managed to snag the last transit bed at the Ambassador Hotel in terminal 2. And there I went through the motions of sweats, chills, pain, and utter illness. I’d also managed to slice my toe open which was hurting like a bitch.
After 9 hours of barely any sleep and feeling like death everything hit me. Leaving my beautiful children, feeling overwhelmed, lonely, full of regret. I sat in the terminal, sweating like a water fountain and tearfully called home. Of course, my husband wasn’t entirely sympathetic. Annoyed I had gotten that far and was having second thoughts and telling me I just needed sleep. It was his unsympathetic ear that spurned me to go on.
I went to the chemist, patched up my toe and boarded my flight. At a brief stop over in Siem Reap the flu was really getting its grip on me. Back on the plane I asked to move because I genuinely worried I might throw up.
On arrival in Cambodia, the visa process was fluid and easy. Far easier than the states! – which I usually avoid travelling through now because the visa process is so painful.
I was greeted by a friendly Cambodian guy, we got on a tuk tuk and began our journey to the group house so I could meet the team. I felt that immediate love for the country, similar to when we landed in Mexico. The madness of the roads, the smells, the dust, the noise. So much to see and I wanted to squeeze as much information as i could from my Cambodian friend who found my excitement very amusing.
The flu seemed to give me a reprieve as I rushed with excitement and stimuli.
The team was small, friendly.
But by this time I couldn’t hear well. I couldn’t turn my neck and I felt like my bones were going to snap. I had to excuse myself and get taken to my hotel. Tan Towers was my prebooked hotel. I wasn’t overly impressed. The guy in charge wanted to know how much my watch was worth. Admittedly at USD15 per night you can’t expect much. My room was basic, had wifi and I felt I’d last the few days. Being so ill I was desperate to sleep. But in the end, not eating for 24 hours was making it worse, so I took a brief, painful walk to a lovely bakery. Joma Bakery which had delicious fresh food, great coffee and free wifi.
But monsoon rains hit hard and I found myself having to walk back in knee deep water. Just praying I didn’t pass any rats.
I got up to my room and saw water pouring out under the door and down the corridor. As I entered I found my entire room had about an inch depth of water. My bags on the floor were soaked. Meaning all my clothes and personal affects. Thank god I’d taken my MacBook out earlier and put it up high. Also the fridge had been sparking and luckily I was wearing my rubber flip flops. Very Final Destination!
I went to reception and the guy told me ‘it was no big deal’ and he’d have someone clean it. I demanded he call the organisation I’m with to come and get me. But he refused.
I went back to my room to retrieve my stuff and try to sort out new accomodation – even though at this point I was soaked through and feeling worse. A guy there with 20 odd rags was trying unsuccessfully to clear the mess. I told him I was leaving but he could see I was ill and upset and told me I wouldn’t get far in this weather. Only 4wds were passing through at this point. He told me I should stay another night and he would find a better room. Realising I was stuck between a rock and a hard place I agreed. But this guy was the handyman, and although I don’t speak Khmer, I could tell he had to argue with the horrible manager to get me a new room.
It was the best choice in the end. The vomited started, the dizziness and disorientation. The fever was full on. Sweating or freezing. My sheets were soaked. I felt so ill and very miserable.
By the early hours I contacted the manager of the organisation via email and said I needed help. I knew I was out of my depth, I had no idea where I was, I was in too much pain to struggle alone and I knew I needed medication.
He came to my rescue not too long after. We went to the chemist where I bought everything I could. We agreed I would sleep until lunchtime and then he’d help shift me to a new hotel.